So, today, because it was so sunny, and because my Literary Manager thought I might like a bit of a change, instead of reading other people’s scripts, I got to write my own! What fun! And, taking inspiration from Fishamble’s current production of Tiny Plays for Ireland, I wrote a tiny play too. This one was site-specific, meaning I got to go out into the sunshine and write a play somewhere that I liked. So, I went to the park. OF COURSE I went to the park. Where else would I go? What a blissful way to spend an hour. Anyway, here is the second draft of my tiny play, after having been re-drafted with the expert advice of the Fishamble Literary Manager.
|They’re sitting in front of this. Found at: http://www.awaycity.com/wiki/Statue_Robert_Emmet|
(ELAINE and THOMMY are sitting on a park bench in front of the Robert Emmet statue in St. Stephen’s Green. They are kissing rather passionately. THOMMY reaches for ELAINE’s breast)
ELAINE: We’re in a park.
ELAINE: So, they’re are people around.
THOMMY: I don’t mind.
ELAINE: Well, I do! (silence) Lovely day.
THOMMY: Didn’t cut school to chat about the weather.
ELAINE: Told you already, Mum’s at home today. (beat) We could go to yours?
THOMMY: Me ma’s at home too!
ELAINE: Oh. Right. (beat) Who’s that over there?
ELAINE: That statue.
THOMMY: Dunno. Some writer?
ELAINE: (she stands up to look) Robert Emmet.
ELAINE: Robert Emmet.
THOMMY: Never heard of him.
ELAINE: “Presented to the People of Ireland by the Robert Emmet Statue Committee of the United States of America, April 13 1966.”
ELAINE: He looks kind of sad. Don’t you think?
THOMMY: I guess.
ELAINE: 1778 – 1803… he was only 25 years old when he died. That is really sad. Isn’t that really sad?
THOMMY: Wha’? Oh, yeah, sure.
ELAINE: That’s young. Imagine dying that young. You wouldn’t have time to do anything, would you?
THOMMY: Like what?
ELAINE: Get married, have kids.
THOMMY: Kids are stupid.
ELAINE: You don’t want kids.
THOMMY: Nah. (beat) Do you?
ELAINE: Dunno. But, like, at 25, you wouldn’t even have the chance. You know, after university…
THOMMY: (laughing) University???
ELAINE: Don’t you want to go to University?
THOMMY: Studying’s stupid.
ELAINE: But, to get a job, like!
THOMMY: Always reckoned I’d get a job fixing things. You know, cars and that.
ELAINE: You just want to fix cars? That’s your life’s ambition?
THOMMY: Me life’s ambition? Nah, me life’s ambition is to get a Honda Civic.
ELAINE: A what?
THOMMY: Its only the best car around.
ELAINE: Your life’s ambition is to get a car?
THOMMY: Yeah, and pimp it out, like.
ELAINE: You know what? If you died at 25, it wouldn’t be sad at all.
THOMMY: (genuinely hurt) Hey! (beat) What do you want to do before you’re 25 then?
ELAINE: Something… impressive.
THOMMY: That’s your plan?
ELAINE: Like Robert Emmet!
THOMMY: You don’t even know what he did!
ELAINE: You’ve got to do something impressive for the USA to dedicate a statue to you when you’re only 25!
THOMMY: You’re mad.
ELAINE: Least its better than a car.
THOMMY: Least I’ll be happy. Elaine, no-one’s gonna erect a statue to you before you’re 25. No-one’s gonna erect a statue to you at all. You’d have to… save loads of people, or win a war, or start a country, or something.
ELAINE: Well, maybe I’ll go to Africa then! And… save all the starving babies or something.
THOMMY: Nobody’s gonna erect a statue to you even if you save all the starving babies and fix Africa and died before you’re 25. Its just not gonna happen.
ELAINE: Why not?
THOMMY: ‘Cause that’s not something that happens to people like us.
ELAINE: And what are we like?
THOMMY: Ordinary. We’re just… ordinary. (beat)
ELAINE: I think that’s probably the worst thing anyone’s ever said to me. (beat) You’re horrible.
It used to have a very different ending – 5 more lines that gave it a real, ‘wah-wah-wah’ finish, as if it were in some sort of bad 1970’s TV comedy. But, Gavin thought this was a better ending. It took me a while to agree, and I still feel like taking the very tragic ending and twisting it into something funnier, but, I am trying to sit comfortably with the pain and the angst and the ‘very-serious-message’ and not try to throw it away.